For the last 40 years I’ve worked with at-risk kids, kids “in the system”–foster care, group homes, homeless shelters; psych hospitals, drug rehab; special education, alternative high schools. I am also a writer. Many times the young people I have met in my work become a part of my writing. I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup (Beacon Press) is a collection of sketches of some of the locked away teenagers I taught over my ten years working in an adult county prison. My writing has appeared in the New York Times, Mother Jones and Education Next as well as many literary and scholarly journals and anthologies. I am a regular contributor on education and criminal justice for Huffington Post and Daily Kos.

I  have done readings and led discussions on juvenile justice and kids at risk at community gatherings, libraries and churches as well at professional conferences. I have also spoken in various college and university classes on a wide variety of topics in the field of criminal justice and education. I am available for readings and for speaking engagements on these important topics. I can be contacted at davidchura2@gmail.com.

  1. see http://www.crewof42.com. three prison related posts today. tnx

  2. John F. Borowski says:

    How can I contact David? I was “forced” out of my job because I would not play ball with my administration. I would love to talk to him. After seeing “Why teachers are afraid?” I am even more motivated to share some data. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20130618/NEWS/306180030/West-Salem-High-students-petition-keep-science-teacher
    The above site explains part of the story. Thanks, JF Borowski

  3. Chris says:

    Hi David. This is Chris, the science teacher who you worked with for a few years at Valhalla. I had no idea you had a blog- I came across an article on Huff Post by you, which led me here. Just wanted to say hi and mention that I read your book when it first came out in hardcover (2010?) and loved it. “Chicks in the Big House” was probably your best chapter, but I also loved Mothers of Invention, in part because I knew the kids. I am REALLY glad you put in the story about the kid who loved Harry Potter but only read ” on the inside.” I have retold that story many times. I signed up for an email subscription. I’m so glad you’re doing well!

    • David Chura says:

      So good to hear from you, Chris!! It is amazing how the young people we worked with in the county jail touched our hearts and have stayed with us years later. (Wouldn’t they be surprised?!!)

  4. Good work, David . . . Jeff N. sent me over here to read about Myrtle the Turtle. My wife worked in special ed and counseling. Your a seasoned veteran. Best regards – Bruce

  5. Janet says:

    I just ordered your book. I think between (1) Crosswinds:Memoirs of a Jail Teacher, (2) Tales of A Jailhouse Librarian and now my new find (3) I Don’t Wish Anybody to Have a Life Like Mine, I’m onto a reading Perfecta. I am hoping these works encourage others in the system to speak out, and even more others to work towards preventative strategies which start in schools. Ms. Zeman’s book (#2) has me thinking about using our public libraries for youth advocacy efforts as well, why stop at schools? I will be posting again after reading #3.

    • David Chura says:

      The more people who have had experiences with the prison system as “civilian” workers–teachers, counselors, health professionals, etc.–share their perceptions and concerns; let the rest of the public know the “true” face of inmates, the more things will change. Thanks for your comment and concerns.

  6. Janet says:

    I’m so embarrassed, I meant to write… I Don’t Wish NOBODY To Have a Life Like Mine. The poor grammar, is of course, part of the emphasis. I guess my error proves good grammar can become hardwired as well. Like a good teacher, you didn’t correct me, but let me find on my own!

  7. Mr. Chura,

    My name is Steven Cottingham, and I am a journalist for a media source in El Paso, Texas. I am working on a story about recidivism, and a program that the El Paso County Detention System has. I read your article at http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2014/05/the-real-roots-of-prison-recidivism.html and would like quote some of the article, and speak to you about the subject. Is there a way we can talk?

    Thank you,


    Some of my past stories: http://elpasoheraldpost.com/?s=steven+cottingham

    • David Chura says:

      Thanks for your interest. The article sounds interesting. Any program that helps young people get out of the cycle of crime is worth investigating. I have responded to you with my personal email. I can also be reached at davidchura2@gmail.

  8. James Naughton says:

    After 25 years in Chicago, I believe I still have something inside me to redeem the lost souls yearning for a second chance.

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